Food cold chain education needed and is coming soon

A new training initiative based on the thermometer is about to be introduced to the Australian cold chain industry. It is seen as a practical move to help combat the country’s serious food loss and wastage problem, estimated to cost the country nearly $4 billion a year at farm gate value.
The Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), the peak advocacy body comprising concerned industry leaders covering refrigeration assets, transport and food distribution, will release an online education program, Thermometers and the Cold Chain Practitioner this month.
The program is aimed squarely at those the AFCCC regards as the super heroes of the food cold chain process – the people who oversee the movement of food through refrigerated transports, loading docks and cold rooms across the nation.
Industry research convinced the AFCCC that Australia desperately needed a new Cold Food Code that should be adopted by industry to stimulate a nation-wide educational push to bring Australian cold chain practices up to the much higher international standard.
The educational program starting with temperature measurement is the first of a planned five-code series.
The AFCCC has invested in new online education software that will be used to develop training programs to support the release of the actual Code document that will cover temperature technologies and how they should be used for monitoring a variety of foods carried in the cold chain.
The initiative runs alongside the work being done by other authorities, including Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) and the Commonwealth Government, which has signed up to a United Nations treaty to halve food wastage by 2030.
Some of the rising levels of national food wastage is considered to be the result of poor temperature management, and poor understanding of how refrigeration works in a range of storage environments. This includes from cold storage rooms through to trucks and trailers, and even home delivery vans.
Australia has world-class refrigeration and monitoring technologies, but the AFCCC believes industry will have to adopt serious training programs so that those responsible for moving food and pharmaceuticals around the country can get the best out of the available technologies.
Because of the vast distances in this country, food transport is a series of refrigerated events, in the hands of a range of stake holders.
Mangoes picked in the Northern Territory may be handled through stationary and mobile refrigerated spaces as many as 14 times by multiple owners on a 3,400 km journey to Melbourne.
If temperature abuse through poor refrigeration practices occurs in just one of those spaces, the losses at the consumer end are compounded, and shelf life can be either drastically reduced, or result in the whole load being sent to landfill.
People working at the coalface of the industry can sign on independently to do the course, which the AFCCC believes will be an important next phase in their professional journey. Kindred organisations involved in the cold chain will be encouraged to become retailers of the education program. Many industry groups have already signed up to help drive cold chain practitioners to the training program from their own websites.
There will only be modest charges for the course, which will help fund AFCCC’s continuing work on assembling the research and expertise to complete further parts of the overall Code of Practice. This will ultimately be gifted to the cold chain industry for the purposes of universal adoption.
The extent of food wastage in this country should not be under-estimated.  It is almost criminal that one quarter of Australia’s production of fruit and vegetables are never eaten and end up in land fill or rotting at the farm gate. This loss alone accounts for almost two million tonnes of otherwise edible food, worth $3 billion.
A government-sponsored study released earlier in 2020 revealed that meat and seafood waste in the cold chain costs the country another $90 million and dairy losses total $70 million.
It’s not just the wasted food at stake. The impacts on greenhouse emissions, water usage and energy consumption will end up being felt nationwide.
The AFCCC was formed in mid 2017 by a cross section of industry leaders covering manufacturing, food transport, refrigeration and cold chain services.
The Council sees itself as an important part of the solution, encouraging innovation, compliance, waste reduction and safety across the Australian food cold chain.
The new Council is not about promoting an industry – it wants to change the industry for the better. It acknowledges that Australia’s track record in efficient cold food handling, from farm to plate, is far from perfect.

Recycling initiative to collect 190,000 tonnes of plastic

Australia’s food and grocery manufacturers, represented by peak body the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), will develop Australia’s largest industry-led plastic recycling scheme, which aims to collect and recycle nearly 190,000 tonnes of plastic packaging per annum by 2025.
The Australian Government has announced the AFGC will develop the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS), supported by funding from the Government’s National Product Stewardship Investment Fund (PSIF).
The scheme will initially focus on increasing the diversion of soft plastics such as bread, cereal and frozen vegetable bags, confectionery wrappers and toilet paper wrap from landfill and it will move on to support the increased recycling of other plastics that are currently difficult to collect and/ or recycle. As an industry-led and funded scheme, the NPRS will coordinate and focus the efforts of well-known food and grocery brands to  increase the recycling and reuse of plastic packaging.
This will build on existing soft plastics recycling initiatives including the industry funded REDcycle program and the soft plastic kerbside collection trial run by Nestlé, as well as projects and research by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.
Read More: Nestlé and IQ renew soft plastic recycling trial
“Over many years, brand owners have invested in packaging innovations that reduce food waste and have moved to using lighter-weight plastics that have a lower carbon footprint. Continuing the focus on packaging sustainability, the NPRS will increase the recycling rates of identified plastics and reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in packaging, helping to meet Australia’s National Packaging Targets,” AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said.
The National Packaging Targets include a goal of recycling or composting 70 percent plastic packaging and incorporating an average of 50 percent recycled content across all packaging by 2025.
“We commend the Australian Government’s leadership on waste reduction and recycling matters, including their support for the NPRS.
“We’re excited about developing a circular economy in collaboration with our members, who comprise nearly 80 percent of packaged food and grocery sales, as well as governments, retailers, plastics and packaging companies, and the resource recovery industry,” said Barden

The growth of the Australasian Recycling Label on-pack

Every week when I receive my grocery delivery, I am starting to notice that more packs are including the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) and I can’t wait for the day that it is on all consumer-facing packaging. I opened a pack of pork steaks the other night and followed the ARL instructions and I have to say it was the most intuitive pack I have experienced in a long time. The ARL made it easy to understand which bin I was placing each component in.
What is the Australasian Packaging Recycling Label (ARL) Program? The ARL provides designers and brand owners with the tools to inform responsible packaging technologists and designers and helps consumers to understand how to correctly dispose of packaging. Led by APCO, in collaboration with Planet Ark and PREP Design, the program aims to reduce consumer confusion, increase recycling recovery rates, and contribute to cleaner recycling streams. The two elements of the program are the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) and the ARL.
Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP)
What makes the program unique is the PREP Tool component, which provides packaging technologists and designers with the correct information on whether their packaging format is recyclable in the majority of household kerbside collection systems and then how it will be handled and recovered by the Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). The PREP Tool also indicates if there are other closed-loop recycling systems that the majority (80 per cent) of the population has access. i.e. “soft plastics”, which can be returned to a Coles or Woolworths store via the REDcycle program.
The PREP tool then works hand-in-hand with the second part of the process which is the ARL program. The ARL symbol represents how the MRF recognises materials, inks, weight, shape, adhesives and how each component will behave in the recycling ecosystem in Australia and New Zealand. Using the datasets from the PREP tool the ARL then identifies the correct symbols to use on-pack for all components of the product e.g.: lid, tray, cap, bottle, box, film etc. It is not possible for a piece of packaging to have the Australasian Recycling Label without a PREP assessment that backs up disposal claims.
The ARL is an evidence-based standardised labelling system for Australia and New Zealand that provides clear and consistent on-pack recycling information to inform consumers of the correct disposal method. As packaging is made up of separable components, each with differing recyclability, the ARL will identify each item as either recyclable, conditionally recyclable or not recyclable. The ARL is designed to ensure that consumers can understand the true recyclability of all packaging components that are disposed of in Australia and New Zealand.
The ARL symbols used on-pack in turn help consumers understand which packaging components belong in the recycling bin, or the general rubbish bin, or which parts should be returned in Australia to a Coles or Woolworths store through the soft plastic collection bins.
Consumer education
There are many brands busy updating their artwork to incorporate the ARL on pack, and I would encourage everyone to consider a strong consumer-facing marketing campaign to let everyone know that you are adding the ARL on-pack, why, and what the benefits are.
Showcase the use of ARL on your packaging as a part of your sustainable packaging journey.
Start talking to your family and friends about the ARL and encouraging your own community to look out for the ARL on-pack and teach them the benefits of the new symbols. The more consumers see the ARL and understand why it needs to be on all packaging, the better the acceptance will be across Australia and New Zealand.
Once consumers become more aware of the ARL symbols on packaging, they will gain confidence in the program and recognise that the labels are an important link to the current recycling capabilities of Australia and New Zealand. In turn, the use of ARL symbols on-pack should encourage consumers to become more active in disposing of waste correctly, which will limit contamination in our waste streams and keep recyclable material away from landfill.
The AIP has also developed a number of training courses that will greatly assist your sustainable packaging journey including Tools to Help you Meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets: PREP and ARL, Introduction to Sustainable Packaging Design, Lifecycle Assessment Tools for Sustainable Packaging Design, Flexible Packaging: Now and Into the Future, Plastics Technology: Introduction to Polymers and Recycling, How to Implement Sustainable Packaging Guidelines into your Business, Suitable, Functional and Sustainable Labelling and The Future of Bioplastics and Compostable Packaging, which are run on a regular basis across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Canadian Club named as an official partner of the Australian Open

Canadian Club has once again signed on as an official partner, official spirit and exclusive dark spirit, of the Australian Open, one of the nation’s largest annual sporting events.

For the second year in a row, Canadian Club (CC) will be making a ‘racquet’ at the Australian Open Festival with the Canadian Club Racquet Club activation perched hillside at the Birrarung Marr festival.

And for the first time, it will also expand its footprint outside of Melbourne with the Canadian Club Racquet Club popping up at three iconic venues in NSW and QLD – The Bucket List Bondi, Cruise Bar Sydney and Sandstone Point Hotel QLD.

The Canadian Club Racquet Club pop-ups will open in December, serving up refreshing Canadian Club cocktails, along with the classic CC and dry. The locations will be decked out in true CC summer style and for the duration of the AO, each site will also feature a big screen, broadcasting every game live to those wanting to soak up the social tennis vibes in Sydney and Brisbane.

The Australian Open partnership includes exclusive dark spirit pourage within Melbourne Park and throughout the Emirates Australian Open Series, the lead-in events to the first Grand Slam of the year, further unlocking trial amongst tennis goers.

“The Australian Open is one of the most iconic events on the Australian sporting calendar, and after great success during the last couple of years we are very excited to be taking the CC Racquet Club to Sydney and Brisbane,” Kristy Rathborne, Brand Manager, Canadian Club said.

The CC Summer of Tennis will extend nationally, from December through to February.

Coke hires Jennifer Aniston for new Glaceau campaign

Coca-Cola South Pacific has announced that Glaceau smartwater’s new Australian summer campaign will be fronted by Jennifer Aniston who has been brought on board as brand ambassador.

Following the successful launch of Glaceau smartwater in Australia earlier this year, Coca-Cola said Aniston will be front and centre of the campaign, appearing across large format iconic out of home displays that include full wraps of Melbourne and Adelaide trams, as well as national billboards in high impact locations.

In addition to Aniston, the Glaceau smartwater summer campaign will also include product trials that will be driven through one of Coca-Cola’s largest ever sampling programs in Australia.

Glaceau smartwater has also partnered with Westfield to activate targeted sampling at selected NSW and VIC Westfield shopping centres, getting in front of their target audience as they do their Christmas and New Year shopping.

Glaceau smartwater is available in 12x700ml sports cap lid packs from a wide range of retail channels including grocery, independents and other outlets.

New reliability test for moisture analysers

Routine moisture-analyser testing between professional calibrations is a good way to ensure moisture measurements are consistently correct.

However, regular performance testing is often neglected because traditional methods are time-consuming and impractical. Mettler Toledo’s SmartCal offers a fast way to verify the performance and veracity of a moisture analyser.

SmartCal simultaneously tests both the heating and weighing units. When results lie within expected tolerances, it lends validity to all measurements made since the previous test.

These results are viewed in a series of clear, readable measurement reports for straightforward monitoring.

They can either be stored directly in the instrument or manually entered into an Excel report.

Mettler Toledo’s also offers a certified version of SmartCal. cSmartCal is tested by the independent German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing.

It satisfies regulatory requirements and is suitable for highly-regulated environments that require an extra level of results assurance. SmartCal StarterPac contains 12 sachets and accessories including the user guide, reporting templates, thermo-hygrometer, and validation documentation.

Asahi Beverages & Wipro partnership recognised with award

Asahi Beverages, the Australia New Zealand business of the Japanese beverage giant and Wipro Limited, a leading global information technology business services company, have been jointly recognised for the ‘Best BPO Sourcing’ partnership of 2016 by the ANZ Paragon Awards, presented in Sydney.

Now in their sixth year, the Paragon Awards honour and recognize companies that have demonstrated ground-breaking and innovative approaches to sourcing, resulting in a positive impact on their clients’ businesses.

Wipro and Asahi Beverages entered into a multi-year contract in September 2014 to jointly innovate, improve organizational efficiencies and enhance customer satisfaction for the beverage company.

Wipro developed a Process Migration Solution that enabled Asahi Beverages to make a robust transition of shared services by mitigating the risks. The solution was delivered through a combination of process migration levers, procedures and tool sets.

Peter Dalins, General Manager, Enterprise Solutions, Asahi Beverages, said, “We are proud to have won this award jointly with Wipro. Our partnership with Wipro is of key strategic value to us. Wipro has understood many critical elements of our business, and has also helped us improve services to our internal and external customers.”

John West lands top sustainability award

Solidifying its position as Australia’s most sustainable tuna brand, Simplot Australia owned John West, was awarded the highest accolade at the 2016 Banksia Sustainability Awards, in Sydney recently.

John West Australia, the only national supermarket brand to be recognised in the awards this year, won the Communication for Change Award, followed by the prestigious 2016 Banksia Gold Award, which reflects the ‘Best of the Best’ across the categories.

Earlier this year, alongside the WWF-Australia (WWF) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a world leading brand commitment was made, to help end unsustainable fishing methods within the canned tuna industry in Australia, thanks to Pacifical, supplied by the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery, controlled by the PNA (Parties to the Nauru Agreement).

The alliance with WWF, MSC and Pacifical and Simplot’s supplier network, is the result of years of the entities working together to find a way to overhaul John West’s supply standards within Australia, moving towards a more sustainable future for the world’s oceans.

Simplot Australia Managing Director, Terry O’Brien, said, “We feel privileged to have been awarded such an accolade in Australian sustainability. The category shift has been years of work alongside our partners, to truly lead the industry, consumers and the environment, towards a more positive future. We look forward to continuing the work, as we move into the next phase of ensuring a positive future for our oceans.”

The Banksia Awards is the longest running and most prestigious acknowledgement of commitment to sustainability in Australia. They recognise Australian individuals, communities, businesses and government for their innovation, achievement and commitment to sustainability.

Smart packaging set to feature at AUSPACK 2017

Smart packaging – which encompasses both active and intelligent packaging – is seeing rapid technological advancement on a global scale.

The global market for smart packaging is currently estimated at $5.3 billion and growing at CAGR of 8% for a projected value of $7.8 billion by 2021, according to market analysts Smithers Pira.

Intelligent packaging technologies incorporated or embedded in a pack (like codes and tags) provide a means to access information, check authenticity, monitor product conditions, receive and store data as well as deliver messages to customers, shippers and brand owners.

An important application for Australian manufacturers is proving product provenance and authentication, particularly for those exporting into Asian markets where counterfeiting is rife and where consumers seek assurance that a product is genuinely Australian.

Product identification and inspection expert Matthews Australasia (Stand 56 at AUSPACK 2017) has worked with New Zealand company Trust Codes to provide high-end infant formula processor Camperdown Dairies with a ground-breaking platform to allow Chinese consumers to quickly check the authenticity and provenance of its products using their smart phones.

The system prints each tin of infant milk formula with a unique QR code with human-readable information managed by Matthews’ iDSnet software.

The printed QR code allows consumers to scan and identify the individual product and report its history, among other information.

In another local development, packaging equipment supplier Result Group (Stand 38 at AUSPACK 2017) has partnered with IDlocate, a traceability and anti-counterfeit solutions provider, to deliver a consumer-facing authentication platform which enables unique QR coding systems to be printed on packaging.

By scanning the code with any smartphone or handheld device, consumers have direct access to a range of data in real time — including growing information, ingredient details, promotional offers, export origin and serving suggestions.

Augmented Reality is another exciting technology being used by brands to create engaging and immersive experiences for consumers.

Omniverse Foster Group (Stand 27 at AUSPACK 2017) will be demonstrating advances made to its 3D immersive packaging technology which it introduced at AUSPACK 2015.

The company will showcase how it is taking AR to the next level of digital platforming, enhancing the technology’s ability to bring brands to life.

AUSPACK 2017 will run from 7 – 10 March 2017 at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park from March 7-10.

ELIX Polymers launches new food grade contact material

ELIX Polymers has launched a new ABS grade for use in products that come into contact with food and which also require extra toughness and resistance to high temperatures.

Target applications include kitchenware, products for preparation and storage of food, and also toys.

The new M545TF grade will enhance the company’s Healthcare portfolio, which already includes grades for medical devices, cosmetics, food contact applications and toys.

The latest grade has been migration tested with different food simulants.

This enables ELIX Polymers to advise its customers about migration issues and regulatory compliance during the product design phase, helping to prevent problems before they occur and shortening time to market.

M545TF can be supplied precolored, with ELIX taking the responsibility for compliance of the pigments with food contact regulations.

ELIX Polymers’ current portfolio of FDA-approved colors already includes more than 120 active recipes; new colors are under continual development.

“ELIX Polymers offers a high level of service to our customers, especially for the healthcare portfolio,” says Aurelie Mannella, Industry Manager Healthcare at ELIX Polymers.

“We are pleased to have gained a reputation among our customers as a company that consistently offers excellence in service, along with high-quality products and constant innovation. We have implemented a rigorous selection of our pigments and suppliers in order to be able to guarantee consistent and zero-risk solutions.”

 

Murray Goulburn and Mead Johnson Nutrition dissolve partnership

Murray Goulburn (MG) has announced today that Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) and MG have mutually agreed that they intend to terminate the March 2016 agreement for an alliance for the supply of nutritional products.

MG said that it remained committed to a B2B nutritionals strategy and MG and MJN will continue to explore new ways to work together.

Interim CEO David Mallinson announced that MG will now review its strategy for its nutritionals investment to ensure MG is maximising value for its suppliers and owners, whilst exercising discipline with MG’s capital.

Approximately 90 per cent of MG’s existing nutritional sales are destined for markets outside of China and MG’s supply agreement with Indonesia’s Kalbe Nutritionals remains in place.

Mallinson noted that “MG remains committed to developing a leading B2B nutritionals business for all export markets and we will continue to assess the best possible way to invest for future growth in this business.”

What bulk packaging system should you choose?

When it comes to choosing a bulk packaging system, every business has its own unique needs. There are different types of bulk packaging systems available on the market, and each machine comes with its own uses and advantages.

Some focus more on outer packaging functions such as forming, cleaning, and sealing. Others focus more on the interior of the package through filling, wrapping, and creative packaging solutions. What you’ll need depends on the type of items you’ll be packaging and the type of packaging you’ll be using, as well as your budget.

Form, fill and seal machines (FFS)

These machines are commonly used for food packaging, although they can also be used for other items including liquids and solids. The FFS machine creates a bag from a flat roll of film, while simultaneously filling the bag with the product and sealing the bag once it’s full. The advantages of FFS machines are that they can operate at a high speed and they’re ideal for running the same product continuously.

The cost of the film is cheaper than purchasing pre-made bags, so you will save on operating costs. However, changing the film is time-consuming, and if the bag is dropped it will often break.

Vertical form, fill and seal machines (VFFS)

VFFS machines fill each bag before heat sealing it, labelling it with a time stamp, and auto cutting the bag. Most VFFS machines can operate at about one finished bag per second, so they are ideal for businesses with high output requirements.

They can be used for small individual packages (like sachets) or for larger bags, and they can package a wide variety of materials like seeds, powders, liquids. VFFS machines are suitable for bagging oats, hay, mulch, fertilisers and more.

Bale packaging machines

Bale packaging machines use hydraulic cylinders to compress products to a quarter of their original size. This allows you to store more products, maximise your available space, and save on packing and transportation costs. This type of bulk packaging system is normally used for cereals, rags, sawdust, humus, straw, hay and fodder.

Valve bag fillers

These machines are consistent, accurate, and simple to install and adjust. Valve bag fillers use a two-stage filling system. The majority of product is filled at maximum rate, and then just before the bag reaches its target, the machine reduces the fill rate to a dribble feed.

This way, the machine can stop filling more accurately when the bag reaches its target weight.

Valve bag fillers are relatively small machines, so they don’t take up a lot of floor space. They’re suitable for packaging dry materials, powders and granular products such as soil, mulch, minerals, grains or concrete mix.

Pre-made bags or open mouth baggers

These systems are extremely flexible. They are compatible with paper bags or woven bags, heat sealers, inner liners, stitched outer bags, fold overs and taped seals.

They offer various feeding methods including gravity feeding, auger feeding, and vibratory feeding, providing you with the ability to package unusual products.

You can add dust extraction systems or bag compression functions depending on your business needs. Poly woven bags are, on average, more robust than FFS bags, but your cost per bag will be higher. Open mouth baggers also tend to be slower than FFS systems.

Visit www.accupak.com.au to find out more.

Tetra Pak announces new US$110 million Vietnam factory

Bolstered by rapid consumption growth and increasing customer needs in the Asia Pacific region, leading food processing and packaging solutions company Tetra Pak today announced their US$110 million investment in a state-of-the-art regional manufacturing facility near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to serve customers across the region.

The move is prompted by increasing consumption volumes, with the 2016 total packed liquid dairy and fruit-based beverages intake at 70 billion litres across ASEAN, South Asia, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Additionally, over the next three years, these markets are likely to grow at a healthy 5.6 per cent per annum, with products packed in Tetra Pak cartons projected to grow at a much faster rate as compared to other packaging formats such as glass bottles and cans.

“Tetra Pak has been present in the region for decades, with our first factory set up in Gotemba, Japan in 1971,” said Michael Zacka, Regional Vice President, Tetra Pak South Asia, East Asia and Oceania.

“Over the years, we have seen substantial growth of our products, driven by a wide portfolio and a number of innovations that we have introduced in the market. Hence our investment in a new plant, which will be our fourth Packaging Material factory in the region, providing us with expansive coverage and scale.

This decision is a strong reflection of our commitment to the region and our firm belief in its future potential.”

The greenfield factory, expected to begin operations in Q1 2019, will have an expandable production capacity of approximately 20 Billion packs per annum, across a variety of packaging formats, including the popular Tetra Brik Aseptic and Tetra Fino Aseptic.

It will primarily serve customers based in ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand. With a strong focus on sustainability, the site will adopt a host of global best practices to minimise the environmental footprint, including the utilisation of a high proportion of renewable energy sources.

This investment will complement Tetra Pak’s three long-standing production facilities in Singapore, India and Japan, building on the wealth of experience built up throughout the company’s operation in the region.

Together, the factories will enable the company to offer more innovations, efficiency and customer service to meet the rapid growth in Asia.

“We are committed to investing in Australia and New Zealand’s food export business to help our customers tap into the huge opportunities opening up both at home and in the wider region. Our investment in this manufacturing facility means we will be able service our ASEAN markets more efficiently, offering greater innovation, enhanced quality, efficiency and flexibility for producers.” said Craig Salkeld, Managing Director for Oceania, Tetra Pak.

Not everyone loves wheat – so why not remove the bad bits

Wheat is everywhere. It’s in bread, pasta, pastries, biscuits, pizza, batter, cereals, soups, sauces, instant drinks, salad dressing, processed meats and sweets, to name but a few.

The western diet is so infatuated with wheat that most of us eat a kilo or more a week. So why do we love it?

It’s simple. It provides the texture of our pasta, the spring in our bread, the thickening in our soups and sauces, and the crunch in our batter and pastries.

But what some of us crave, others look to avoid. They study ingredients on packaging and travel across town to find processed foods that don’t contain wheat. While they may enjoy the texture, spring, thickness and crunch, they don’t feel well after they eat wheat.

So what’s the problem?

An intolerance

Some have a sensitivity to a small set of wheat proteins called gluten. For a subset of people their reaction is so extreme it’s defined as coeliac disease.

But most people who avoid wheat are not intolerant to gluten but rather to some other substance in wheat. Scientists agree this is likely to be other proteins found in the wheat grain, but it is typically unknown what the culprit is in each case.

This is a frustrating mystery for wheat sensitivity sufferers which hangs over their café breakfasts, luncheons with friends and social dinner parties.

The full set of proteins that make up wheat grains has only recently been revealed, with details published last month in The Plant Journal. These proteins make up the wheat proteome and have been exhaustively mapped out for the first time in wheat by research conducted here in Australia.

With this discovery we now know that, beyond gluten, thousands of different proteins can be found in wheat grain. Some of them we didn’t even know existed before this research was undertaken.

We know when they are made during grain development and we know if they are also found in other parts of the wheat plant such as the leaves, stems and roots. Each of these long wheat grain proteins are digested in our gut to become short peptides.

That means there are hundreds of thousands of different peptides that can be derived from wheat. Most are harmless and good nutrition but for some people, a set of them will make us unwell.

Single out the proteins

Only now that this mapping of the wheat proteome has been completed can we measure each protein separately and see how abundant they are in different varieties of wheat.

This information enables scientists to use mass spectrometers to sift through proteins and peptides by subtle differences in their weight – a difference that can be smaller than the mass as a proton.

We can literally dial up the masses of a particular set of peptides and set the mass spectrometer to work measuring them. The technology is at the cutting edge of new blood tests for disease. It can now be applied to make new measures in wheat.

This means we have a remarkable new opportunity to see wheat in a novel way – as a complex set of proteins that can work for us, or against us.

This breakthrough not only shows us the list of proteins in grain. When paired with wheat genome data (information about the complete set of genes in wheat) it tells us for the first time which of the 100,000 different wheat genes are responsible for making each of the proteins.

Armed with this new information, things really can change. We will ultimately be able to determine which proteins in wheat are causing people to feel unwell. We will then be able to breed wheat varieties that contain less or none of the proteins responsible.

These kinds of selective changes in wheat protein content don’t need to stop at aiding those intolerant to today’s wheat. They can enable wheat varieties to be tailored to make wheats that are better for baking or brewing or thickening.

They can even help us to breed wheat that is better able to survive in harsh environments, to adapt to changes in climates and is better suited to more intensive farming.

This is important because wheat is not just an integral part of the western diet. It is also part of an international plan to raise crop yields to ensure we have food for the estimated 8.5 billion people across the world by 2030.

Safe, benign, abundant, cheap, high quality wheats with protein contents ready for many different applications are a key part of food security and a fairer future.

 

From The Coversation

Did milk processor overstate its accounts?

A forensic accountant has alleged that dairy processor Murray Goulburn may have overstated its earnings and even lost money in the last financial year.

It was claimed in early November that its treatment of the milk supplier support program in its accounts was wrong.

This in turn has led to dairy farmers doubting whether they’ll get repaid, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Not helping the situation is the company’s decision to write off part of the advance.

Forensic accounting company, Morris Forensic, says Murray Goulburn’s pretax profit of more than $57 million should have been a loss of just over $92 million.

Morris Forensic believes that Murray Goulburn treating the advance as an ‘asset’ is not correct because there is no right to recover the advance from farmers. “In my opinion, Murray Goulburn’s financial statements should have been prepared on the basis that the amounts paid or payable to suppliers for milk purchased during the year were inventory purchases,” Morris Forensic argues in its report.

Murray Goulburn has confirmed to the SMH that farmers do not have to repay the advance and that the company has already written off part of the advance.

“In my opinion, the manner in which Murray Goulburn recognised the MSSP assets of $183.334 million in its 2016 financial report resulted in Murray Goulburn increasing its reported profit before income tax by approximately $150 million,” Morris Forensic said in its report.

Murray Goulburn is the subject of a class action and of ASIC inquiries due to allegations that it misrepresented certain aspects in its prospectus when it raised capital from investors last year.

Rosella flies off with new branding

Rosella is set to unveil a new logo this November, which the company claims will be the most dramatic change in the company’s visual identity for 20 years.

According to Senior Brand Manager, Kristine Dalton, “The most immediate change is the rosella bird itself. We have revisited the grassroots of our original logo whilst preserving the distinctive, native Eastern rosella and have given it flight to represent the company continuing to keep pace with modern Australian eating.”

“We believe the change will be welcomed. The new design will appeal to a new generation of Australian families by capturing the essence of our Australian Spirit, our vibrancy, energy and our free spirit.”

Designed by Melbourne Design House Disegno, the logo represents the company’s colourful history in a modern and evolving style.

“As an organisation so engrained in Australian culture, we are excited for this change to continue our longstanding relationship between the Rosella brand and customers,” concluded Dalton.

The new logo will first appear on the 600ml sauce bottle, on shelves nationally in all Coles, Woolworths and Independents late November.

AFGC warns of tough times ahead for food makers

The latest Australian Food and Grocery Council’s (AFGC) annual industry snapshot State of the Industry 2016 shows a 14 per cent increase in Australia’s food and grocery exports in 2015-16 to some extent moderated by the challenging economic conditions confronting Australia’s $125.9 billion food and grocery processing sector.

AFGC CEO Gary Dawson said while the State of the Industry 2016 highlighted export growth and a lift in overall industry turnover, falling capital investment and stalling job growth are clear warning signs for the future of Australia’s largest manufacturing sector.

“This year’s State of the Industry highlights the importance of the food and grocery sector to Australia’s economy, as well as its resilience in the face of the significant challenges it faces to stay competitive,” said Dawson.

“The good news is that industry turnover continues to increase with food and grocery processing now making up 33 per cent of total Australian manufacturing. This growth is largely on the back of strong growth in exports. In 2015-16 food and beverage exports grew by 11 per cent to $26bn, fresh produce exports up 49 per cent to $1.5bn and grocery (non-food) exports up 32 per cent to $4bn.

“Yet low domestic growth, rising costs for energy and other inputs, and six years of retail price deflation in the ongoing supermarket price war has created relentless pressure back through the supply chain to become more efficient in order to stay competitive.”

“In 2015-16 job growth stalled across the food and grocery sector reflecting the ongoing financial pressure the sector is under which is forcing food and grocery producers and processors to cut costs across every part of their business.”

“A key concern is the continuing decline in capital Investment at a time when a step change upwards in investment is required to fully capitalise on improved market access and growing demand from middle class consumers in the emerging economies of Asia and the Middle East,” said Dawson.

 

 

SPC workers fear getting canned

According to a story this morning in The Age, jobs at food producer SPC Ardmona hang in the balance after Woolworths said it would be ending its canned tomatoes deal with SPC and wouldn’t say whether it will retain a five-year agreement struck in 2014 for other private-label tinned fruit.

At the same time, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has raised fears the company is considering sending fruit-sourcing offshore.

Tom Hale, the AMWU national food division secretary, was quoted as saying that the federal government should “pull together all political parties and start drafting legislation to help keep the Australian food industry alive”.

He also noted that the voluntary Food and Grocery Code of Conduct should be “enshrined into law, which would force big retailers to comply with minimum standards when dealing with suppliers….”

“The current system of self-regulation is not working,” Hale was quoted by The Age report.

While Woolworths did rescue SPC’s struggling Shepparton cannery two years ago with a five-year deal to buy its private-label tinned fruit, the agreement was apparently made only on a ‘handshake’.

At the same time, according to a number of sources, the private label tomatoes are an “immaterial” part of Woolworths $70 million supply agreement with SPC.

“It plays havoc with the lives of farmers and factory families who have made important decisions based on Woolworths’ word,” said Federal Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash.

General Mills announces major restructure & closure of Victorian facility

General Mills has today announced that it will be restructuring its Australian operations.

Part of this restructure will mean the closure of General Mills’ manufacturing facility in Mount Waverley, Victoria along with the consolidation of its Australian manufacturing activity into an expanded production facility in Rooty Hill, New South Wales.

The closure of the Mount Waverley facility will occur between April and June 2018.

All staff in both locations have been informed of the closure. General Mills will be working to re-deploy and relocate employees to Rooty Hill as appropriate, but it is likely that most roles from Mount Waverley will become redundant.

The difficult decision to close the Mount Waverley facility, which makes pasta, sauce and ready-to-eat meals, was taken to simplify General Mills’ supply chain and secure the future growth of the business, according to a company press release.

Food conveyor cleaning nozzles

According to Techpro, food conveyor cleaning can now be done quicker and also more cost effectively.

While manual conveyor cleaning is regularly undertaken to ensure Australia’s first-class food hygiene protocols are maintained, a number of manufacturers have found effective conveyor cleaning is achievable simply by installing the correct spray nozzles for the job.

A properly automated conveyor cleaning system should provide uniformed cleaning across the entire conveyor as well as efficient water usage.

Optimal results can only be achieved when the positioning of spray nozzles is carefully planned.

Other factors to consider include available water pressure and flow rate, nozzle size, droplet size and spray pattern.